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Emails need to be kept as short as you can make them: the longer the email, the less chance there is that you will get a reply, and the longer you will have to wait for it. This means that, although emails are good for rapid-fire exchanges, you need to put plenty of effort into crafting them in order to keep their length down. You need to check them just as carefully as you would any other piece of writing. Remember that it’s very easy to offend people by email, so always remember to include good wishes, to hope your correspondent is well or to say that it was good to see them recently.
The most valuable part of an email is the subject line – everyone reads the subject line, and it is often what makes people decide whether or not to read any more. Try if you can to put the whole substance of the email into the subject line: “Meeting with Bill postponed to 3pm” or “Please call Mike”.
Start the email with a greeting (“Dear X” or “Hello X” work best) and end with “Best wishes”, “Thanks”, “Regards” or “See you on Tuesday” followed by your name. Come to the point as soon as possible. If you have a question or you want the recipient to do something tell them what it is right at the beginning or right at the end – or both. If you include attachments try to make sure that the filenames make them self-explanatory. Otherwise explain what the attachments are in the main body of the email.